David W. Ranson, MD, FACS
General & Vascular Surgeon located in South Charleston, WV
Around 9,500 Americans are diagnosed with skin cancer every day, according to The Skin Cancer Foundation. When caught early enough, most skin cancers are treatable. At his office in South Charleston, West Virginia, David W. Ranson, MD, FACS, performs comprehensive skin cancer screenings and treatments to ensure you continue to remain healthy. To schedule an appointment with Dr. Ranson, call his office today or book online.
Skin Cancer Q & A
What is skin cancer?
Skin cancer is an abnormal growth of skin cells that can lead to discolored lesions on your body. As the most common type of cancer, skin cancer typically develops on areas of your body that receive the most sun exposure. However, skin cancer can happen to anybody, regardless of how much time you spend in the sun.
Are there different types of skin cancer?
There are three main types of skin cancer:
Basal cell carcinoma
Basal cell carcinomas commonly grow in areas exposed to the sun, such as the face, head, neck, and arms. They often appear as waxy red bumps, flat brown lesions, or even as scars. Basal cell carcinomas are very common, slow-growing, and highly-treatable.
Squamous cell carcinoma
Squamous cell carcinomas are the second most common type of skin cancer. They usually look like flat, scaly lesions, but they can also develop into hard, red nodules. While they are slow-growing, squamous cell carcinomas can penetrate the deeper layers of your skin tissue without treatment, so it’s important to get them screened.
Melanoma is a potentially dangerous form of skin cancer that can develop in areas of the body that aren’t exposed to the sun. Most melanomas start out as a mole that changes in shape, size, and color over time. However, they can also be large, flat lesions that appear white, blue, black, or red.
How do doctors diagnose skin cancer?
You should schedule an appointment with Dr. Ranson the moment you notice any changes to the moles, freckles, or other lesions on your skin.
At your visit, Dr. Ranson performs a comprehensive skin cancer screening, during which he visually examines your body for signs of abnormal lesions.
If he suspects you have a cancerous lesion, he may apply or inject an anesthetic to the area before taking a sample (biopsy) for testing. For small lesions, Dr. Ranson may remove the growth entirely during your visit.
Depending on the results of your biopsy, Dr. Ranson may recommend imaging tests to determine whether cancer has spread to nearby lymph nodes.
What are the treatments for skin cancer?
Dr. Ranson can remove superficial cancers, such as basal cell carcinomas, through excisional surgery. During this procedure, he surgically cuts out both your cancerous tissue and a small portion of the surrounding skin to ensure he removes all the cancerous cells.
If your cancer has spread to other areas of your body, such as your lymph nodes, Dr. Ranson may refer you to an oncologist for more aggressive treatments, such as chemotherapy or radiation.
The right care can prevent skin cancer from spreading. To learn more, schedule an appointment with David W. Ranson, MD, FACS, or book online today.